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ERIC Number: EJ895689
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 43
Do Minimum Grading Practices Lower Academic Standards and Produce Social Promotions?
Carifio, James; Carey, Theodore
Educational Horizons, v88 n4 p219-230 Sum 2010
Although schools have always struggled with student failure, retention, and attrition, the turn of the new century has produced added pressures for schools to reduce student dropout rates. In the current political and economic environment, increased costs and reduced budgets are forcing difficult choices in how best to spend limited resources. Cognizant of the secondary and affective aspects of assigned grades on student confidence, self-efficacy, and motivation, increasing numbers of schools have been experimenting with modified grading practices. Many of the strategies addressing the problem have been described in the popular press as "minimum grading practices" or "zeros aren't permitted" (ZAP) programs. Proponents argue that modified grading helps contribute positively to student motivation--primarily through maintaining a healthy locus of control within the student. Critics counter that those practices offer unfair and unearned assistance to low-performing students and contribute to overall grade inflation. This article explores minimum grading and ZAP programs in the larger context of the historical and ongoing debates concerning student retention and social promotion. The analysis will focus on the alleged social benefits such practices claim to realize and the collateral social harms they may induce.
Descriptors: Locus of Control, Grade Inflation, Self Efficacy, Dropout Rate, Social Promotion, Academic Standards, Motivation, Grading, School Holding Power, Student Attitudes, History, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Student Motivation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001